Liana Heshiki did what cleanup hitters are supposed to do, going 4-for-4 on Thursday to lead No. 6 Punahou to a 9-3 win over ‘Iolani in an ILH softball game at Ala Wai Community Park.
In the No. 4 spot, Heshiki is proving to be right fit as a batting-order companion to the Buffanblu’s D’Asha Saiki, who is at No. 3 in the order.
“I love her swing right now,” Eldredge said about Heshiki. “She’s swinging it really well and that’s really big for us because you have to have somebody behind D’Asha. Liana has taken that spot, so now as a pitcher, you gotta face D’Asha or somebody who is 4-for-4, so it makes it tough.”
Saiki went 3-for-3 with a triple, Jadey Hagiwara had two hits and an RBI, and Asia Lee stole three bases to go along with an RBI single for Punahou.
Saiki, in the mind of Buffablu coach Boy Eldredge, is the best player in the state.
After an undefeated preseason, the Buffanblu lost their first two league games but are now 2-2 in the ILH.
“This ILH is tough, a tough battle, a lot of good teams,” Eldredge said. “We just gotta plug away and get better every single day. We had a hiccup against Mid-Pacific and that kind of surprised us. It was a humbling moment for us. Today was the first time they could really come out and prove themselves. They came ready to play. I really liked their preparation. Now, it’s about working hard and getting ready for April and May.”
Punahou made it all the way to the state Divison I final a year ago.
“We played good today,” Heshiki said. “We came in with the mind-set that ‘Iolani is a good team and we can’t take them lightly and that we just gotta start early and finish strong. Even in the last inning, I talked to my team and said, ‘All we need is three more outs and we can’t play them lightly. We have to play hard.’ We were hungry and ready and we wanted it as much as they wanted it.”
The Buffanblu need one more win to get past the .500 mark. They play at home against No. 10 St. Francis on Saturday.